Signs of Surrender

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I watch from inside
as mortal becomes remains
finally, cede control


I am 44, and my multi-hued hair is turning from primarily dark brown to a sort of salt and cayenne mix.  Someday I imagine I’ll have some pinkish fluff on my head that matches the ill-mannered apricot poodle I also intend to have.  I don’t mean to dye my hair, unless I find some shockingly bright color appeals to me.  I suppose then I’ll have to dye my poodle to match.

Why such a morbid poem about gray hair?  Well, it’s not about gray hair.  It’s about realizing that I can’t control any of this, the riotous hormones, my once luxurious hair, the fluid shape of my middle.  I can only be kind to myself.  I can eat something because it makes me feel well.  I can take a walk because the outdoors sustains me.  I can see people, and write words, and spend several hours hand knitting a dishcloth, though my dishcloths have lives that are nasty, brutish, and short.  I can let go of the frustration of being stuck on the worst amusement park ride ever (Ride the MenoCoaster!  Money back if you don’t feel like screaming!) and just….slowly….breathe for a few minutes.

Just when that quiet wants to turn to tears, the school bus brings the circus back to town and saves me from a surplus of contemplation.  Maybe I should get that poodle soon, and teach it some tricks.

 

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Microwaves of Nausea

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Permeating the walls and halls,
The fumes worse than bathroom stalls,
You thought you’d have a nice, warm snack—
Instead it’s a mustard gas attack.

The popcorn doesn’t need that long.
The smoke means you’ve done it wrong.
Last night’s curry should have stayed at home-a,
Now we’re sick from that aroma.

And YOU—with the leftover trout.
Pack up your things and just get out.
If nuking fish is your bailiwick,
Find somewhere else to make people sick.

Crimes against noses linger for hours.
I feel like I need a Silkwood shower.
My nostrils are thoroughly defeated.
Are you sure that “food” should be reheated?


I don’t work in an office anymore, but I cook lunch every morning for my sandwich-hating, food-allergic kid.  Fish sticks at 8AM, folks.  Takes me back to my cube farm days, and not in a good way.

The popcorn was meant to be the other child’s snack.  It only took eight hours or so for that to dissipate.

P.M. S.nack

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you called me crazy
so I made myself crackers
you won’t get any


I dare you to tell me those aren’t crackers. I know they aren’t, you know they aren’t, but we really don’t need to say some of the things we think out loud, do we?

P.S. That deck rail is finally painted a nice gray color.  Five entire days, I painted.  I might be tired and a little short-tempered, but geez, it is nice to remove that albatross.  Of course, I wear albatrosses like an elderly maven wears Diamonelles, but one less is one less.

Doggety Dirge

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There is an empty space of bread-box size,
Six inches from the floor and always close.
It was occupied by gentle brown eyes,
Soft nudging on ankles from cold, black nose.
I take my walks all alone and unleashed,
The crumbs under table stay where they fall.
Only the sea smell comes home from the beach,
The bright steel bowls take no space in the hall.
No nails will scrabble to joyfully greet,
The UPS man hears silence, escapes.
Gone, snarfle and crunch of phantom small treats,
The solidity of memory unshapes.
—-Long, small shadow is not where it belongs,
—-At this moment, we are in-between dogs.


Daisy 2000-2015

She was my Special Dog, and really the Best Girl.  We’ve been waiting to get another dog for life things to pass (vacations, etc…) but I am getting antsy for another four-legged best friend.  The empty spot hasn’t filled in, even after all this time.

(And here’s the sonnet!  Some of the iambs are suspect, but hey, we’re working to a deadline here.)

Retreating

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A writer’s weekend away
Was exactly what I wanted,
But you might have mentioned
Your condo is prehaunted.

It’s a real distraction
To have noises in the night,
And the patting on my leg
Gave even me a fright.

But beyond the Scooby scares,
The worst thing for an empath,
Was the pervading sadness
Lingering in the guest bath.

Despair so deep, it broke me.
I had to pack up and leave.
I fled for home in tears–
It took three days to grieve.

So….thanks for your largesse?
I really appreciate the thought.
I won’t be going back to work
In the Condo of the Lost.


My husband, the Navy vet, tells me that sea stories always start with “This is no shit, man…”  I didn’t think that was an elegant title, so I went with “Retreating.”  I’ve had odd experiences before in my life, but this one topped them all. The pressure of an unseen hand on my leg woke me.  The electrical appliances and lights did a lot of flickering and malfunctioning.  My spare battery pack wouldn’t take a charge (I’m using it right now, it’s fine again).

The hardest part, though, was definitely the emotional imprint left on the place.  I don’t know the whole story, but I can guess.  It still seems very sad, but it no longer seems like my tragedy, as it did while I was there.

I did manage to get some work done, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped.  Next time I get a weekend free, I’m staying in a nice generic hotel, preferably built very recently.

The F Word

 

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Today? I wrote for kids.
Fairies, elves and dragons.
Tomorrow, I’m writing horror
And this might sound like bragging–but–

I will use the F word
In so many creative ways.
Noun, verb, adjective, interjection…
I can F for days.

Some will get the vapors,
Others just turn up their nose,
But when you’re writing messy life
The underbelly has to show.

In my real-life conversation,
I don’t F this and that with ease,
But my characters F an awful lot
When faced with extremity.

I guess what I’m saying is
You can’t sanitize real.
My pretend people have to tell you
Exactly how they fucking feel.


It’s sort of funny to me how people extrapolate what and how you write to your own personality. They expect Steve King to live in some sort of Addams family monstrosity, when he’s really someone’s Grandpa and puts a sheet on his couch so the dog doesn’t get hair all over it.

The imagination is an amazing tool, and you don’t always get to pick which doors fly open in the middle of the night. I have these flawed people come to me nearly fully formed. It’s my job to put them in situations and see what they do–and it’s not always nice. *shrug*

Methaphor

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Checking you out checking out
Maximum packs of pills
Some cold you got there, lady

Bags of refined crystals for me
Socially acceptable RDA implosion
Dying slow, but dying too

You don’t smile, you don’t have one
Fingers to face, worrying at it
Eyes here, there, at me, don’t see

I tug my shirt over my tell
Breathing hard from standing still
Hungry to hate, settling for you

I’ll go straight to the needle
Finger sticks to pay a different piper
Both buying to use ourselves up


I used to self-medicate depression with sugar. I had a high-stress career and a lifetime of bad habits behind me, and I’d buy a couple of candy bars on the way home from work just to deal with the anxiety.

At one of my stops, I ran across a couple, both buying four boxes of generic Sudafed. Not rocket science to figure that out. With age I find greater compassion, and I realize that we all cope somehow.

I’ve broken the candy habit, for the most part, and I’m not on my way to the DIABEETUS.  The depression is mostly mild and comes and goes.  I still want a bag of candy, I just don’t buy one.  I hope those folks are in a similar place.